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SuperMicro X7DAL-E Motherboard, want Ubuntu on it

Link to this post 18 Feb 13

Hello future friends!

I plan on sticking around on this site for a very long time.

I recently encountered Linux Ubuntu and I am in love! I also love how much helpful information there is out there, and how helpful the community is out there as well!

Now here's the problem: I format a partition using Ubuntu, I install Ubuntu onto that partition, Ubuntu tells me that it's been successfully installed. However, when I re-boot, it won't boot from HDD.

I've messed around a bunch in the BIOS changing boot order, etc., so we can rule that out.

I'm pretty sure I know what the problem is; there's some Intel 5000x chipset driver update I need in order to boot from a partition on an HDD. Here's how I know this:

The first attempt at installing Ubuntu did what I said earlier; said installation was successful, so I take out the CD, I re-boot the system, and I get the message "No Operating System Found."

I talked to someone who knows computers better than most anyone on the planet (...his first PC was a Commodore 64, and he's been a daily PC user since 1979.) and he told me that the problem is the Intel(R) 5000x Chipset driver needs to be installed onto the system in order for it to be able to boot up.

So, he told me I should install Windows 7 first, along with the drivers, and run Ubuntu as a virtual machine within Windows. So, begrudgingly, I attempted just that. Windows 7 would allow me to get to the screen where you can install drivers. I put them onto a bootable flash drive, selected all of them, and after about half an hour, some windows pop up saying that so-and-so driver didn't install correctly. So I click and say "OK" to each of those pop-ups. At no point does it actually say that the drivers were installed.

Well, it wouldn't let me move on to the next area where I actually install windows. So, after letting it sit overnight running, still no change. I decide to re-boot, without the Windows disk. And guess what? The Ubuntu that I had installed now works!

So, my guess is that I somehow managed to install the necessary Intel(r) 5000x chipset drivers, without actually fully installing Windows.

I thought, "Great!" But then comes along another problem; I had installed the 32-bit version!

I know that 32 will work on both 32 and 64-bit machines, but man, this is a server board made into a personal computer. It has TWO CPUs, both of which are Xeon Dual-Core 3.0 Ghz. This is one serious machine that I acquired, and as such, I most certainly want to be using it with a 64-bit OS.

So, I delete everything that I had installed, tried to just install the 64-bit OS, and now I'm right back where I started.

You might be thinking, "Well, yeah, stupid, you deleted the drivers making all your previous work wasted!"

Well, that's true, but the reason why I went ahead and deleted everything and started over was because - before I half-installed Windows 7 with the 5,000x chipset drivers - I ALSO flashed the BIOS. So, I was thinking that it was the updated BIOS that allowed the Ubuntu OS to work, not the drivers that were somehow installed onto the HDD, even though the Win 7 installation was incomplete.

So, now that you guys have all of that background information available, what do you suggest I do?

I ultimately want Ubuntu, because it's design is pretty much ideal for what I want to be doing with the computer. I do also want to install Windows 7 on it, and have a multi-boot machine.

At the moment though, I'm dead in the water and don't know what to do.

Can someone point me in the right direction?

I was thinking, maybe I can boot Ubuntu 64-bit from CD, then while connected to the Web, install the necessary drivers. I assume there's a way to do this from the Terminal screen, but I don't know.

What should I do, guys and gals?

I hope you guys can help me, as I'd love to become an advanced user of Linux someday.

All the best folks,

Sisyphus

PS: Let me know if there's any other information you need. If it matters; yes, the HDD is Serial ATA. The Optical Drive I'm not sure of, let me check... ok yeah, the optical drive is also SATA. The motherboard once again is a SuperMicro X7DAL-E+ with two Intel(R) Xeon 3.0 Ghz CPUs. Also, I've tried multiple HDDs. I'm just about 100% positive this is a driver issue.

Link to this post 19 Feb 13

Have you tried changing the way the bios is reading the hard drives, I have experienced errors in the past where neither windows or any other os would boot on the automatic mode setting, try the various modes until on prompts with the boot menu.

Link to this post 20 Feb 13

I believe you're referring to what I mentioned about the way the bios reads the HDD's in my first post.

It was a REALLY long post though, so, pretty easy to miss. Do you mean this?

"I've messed around a bunch in the BIOS changing boot order, etc., so we can rule that out."

...or is there something more subtle you're referring to?

My friend who knows more about PCs than almost anyone said I'd basically need to write the drivers myself if I wanted Ubuntu to work on its own.

Thanks for the input... sorry I didn't see your post earlier; I've been having problems with Thunderbird.

Cheers,

Sisyphus

Link to this post 21 Feb 13

I read the entire post and was referring to information from my past experiences.

I was referring to the hard drive mode settings that are references on page 4-5 of the manual at http://www.supermicro.com/manuals/motherboard/5000X/MNL-0876.pdf . For example on one of my systems my options for SATA controller mode are Native IDE, RAID and AHCI, If it is set to AHCI then the disk is non-bootable from any OS. Without seeing all of the current options in your bios I cannot recommend anything more specific.

As for the theory about having to load drivers that does not seem logical, the reason for this is that the drivers are loaded one the OS has been booted, but you cannot even get to a bootloader to start an OS, so in that case the OS will not even get a chance to load the referenced drivers.

If the motherboard still cannot boot from any hard drive after the bios settings have been tested and the bios has been updated I would look into the potential of a faulty HDD or motherboard and test the hard drive on another computer and try another hard drive on that motherboard to determine the root of the problem.

Link to this post 21 Feb 13

mfillpot said:

I read the entire post and was referring to information from my past experiences.

I was referring to the hard drive mode settings that are references on page 4-5 of the manual at http://www.supermicro.com/manuals/motherboard/5000X/MNL-0876.pdf . For example on one of my systems my options for SATA controller mode are Native IDE, RAID and AHCI, If it is set to AHCI then the disk is non-bootable from any OS. Without seeing all of the current options in your bios I cannot recommend anything more specific.

As for the theory about having to load drivers that does not seem logical, the reason for this is that the drivers are loaded one the OS has been booted, but you cannot even get to a bootloader to start an OS, so in that case the OS will not even get a chance to load the referenced drivers.

If the motherboard still cannot boot from any hard drive after the bios settings have been tested and the bios has been updated I would look into the potential of a faulty HDD or motherboard and test the hard drive on another computer and try another hard drive on that motherboard to determine the root of the problem.


I didn't mean to imply you didn't read the whole post. Sorry about that.

I tried to post this in the Ubuntu forum, and the syntax of that board wouldn't allow me to separate paragraphs, so it was one long, run-on paragraph about 12" long.

Oh, also, regarding this:

As for the theory about having to load drivers that does not seem logical, the reason for this is that the drivers are loaded one the OS has been booted,

...yes, I needed to boot from Win 7 disc (DVD) before I could install the 5000x chipset drivers. There were over 2-dozen of them. Once I installed those, the PC froze. So, I re-booted from disk, and from there was able to successfully install Win 7 without any changes to the BIOS at all.

I've always been able to boot from optical drive, Ubuntu and Win 7, but was not able to boot from HDD until the chipset drivers were installed... exactly what my acquaintance told me would happen.


Moreover, I'm just about sure it's nothing to do with any BIOS HDD settings. Considering I just successfully installed Windows 7 on it without any BIOS adjustments... well, I did change the boot order to ONLY include #1: Boot from cd and; #2, boot from the HDD that the OS is installed onto ("C:" drive). However, this is the same boot order I had when I tried to install Ubuntu only and it wouldn't work.

The guy who told me about all of this, like, I can't stress enough about his knowledge about computers. He said that there would be a way to install Ubuntu without Windows 7, but that it would be an extremely advanced process, and I might even need to write some of the drivers myself.

Since I successfully installed Windows 7 AFTER installing the 5000x chipset drivers, doesn't that show that the problem was the chipset drivers?

I searched all over the web for Linux-versions of these drivers and could not find them.

I have many HDDs laying around that are all in great shape, so there's no difficulty in pulling out the one with Windows 7 on it, putting in a fresh one, and seeing if I can get Ubuntu to work on it.

...however, I'll need to know how to install the 5000x chipset drivers in order to get it to work.

Any idea on where to find these? Supermicro's Website will only supply them for Windows and RedHat.

Thank you for the recommendation about the BIOS SATA settings I'll look into it more, but I'm almost positive it's been set to "auto" the whole time.

Thanks again for your help. I greatly appreciate it,

Sisyphus

PS: Is there another PC-friendly version of Linux that might have the 5000x chipset drivers already on the copy? I know RedHat would, but that wouldn't be a PC anymore at that point, and I don't know what I'd do with a server currently.

Link to this post 23 Feb 13

Thank you for the response, I will try to follow up on your lead.

I have reviewed the kernel I have installed (3.7.1) and can see that the listed chipset is supported, but the EDAC is disabled on my system. Can you please point to the site where the drivers where available for Linux systems?

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